Monday, February 26, 2007

Gain and Loss

As I've said in a recent post, people have two economic instincts. Gain, and prevent loss.

One of the insights I gained from LeFevre is that when there is gain to be had, people want to be individualistic. When there is loss, they want to be collectivistic. They want the full benefit of their rewards but they want everyone else to bear the burden of their loss. This led me to realize something. People who are focused on gain tend to be individualistic. People who are focused on not losing tend to be collectivistic.

Individualists, libertarians and atheists, are gain-oriented, they seek to make the most of life, to achieve what can be achieved, to create, seek happiness and reward and glory and riches, to win big and lose big, but learn how to win more often than lose.

Collectivists, socialists and theists, are stop-loss oriented, they seek to not lose in life, and so invent such ideas as a social "safety net" so that nobody can really lose, or an afterlife so that when they lose their life, they believe they are actually going to gain.

From the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, you read Kiyosaki incessantly describing how the middle-class trap and unsuccessful investment and noninvestment is driven by emotion, fear of loss and subsequently pursual of security (and as he points out, there are no safe investments).

As Kiyosaki says, the problem with the stop-lossers is that they never win. "Losing is part of the process of winning," he says. If you want to win, you have to get used to the fact that you're going to lose a few times. He likens it to saying "Here, learn how to ride this bike but don't fall off."

People who are gain oriented respond to loss with thought. When they fail, they learn from it, think about why it happened, what caused it, and what they can do about it in order to gain.

People who are stop-loss oriented respond to loss with emotion. When they fail, they're angry, scared, sad, and negative emotive feedback leads them to have negative responses. And with reason not being applied in this case, it tends to bring out the animal in people.

We should also look at the relationship between freedom and security. They exist on different axes, but any libertarian can tell that there's a correllation between them. Freedom is objective, it's based on the world around you and outside you. Security is subjective, it's nothing but a feeling. It's possible to be free and feel secure, and to be free and feel unsecure. It's possible to be a slave and feel secure, and to be a slave and feel unsecure.

Stop-loss oriented people recognize insecurity as a potential loss. Thus, they seek to enter collectives which spead this loss out, and give them a feeling of safety. They may still feel unsecure, but they believe they will lose less than they would if they were responsible individual. Of course this collective requires collective decisionmaking which requires tyranny, which means slavery. That's why people who seek security end up with slavery.

In short, if you like to win, individualism makes sense. If you don't like to lose, collectivism feels good.

Self-Sufficiency

In the first post on this blog, which as things are set, you can access by scrolling all the way down, I said that I was a survivalist. I've completely neglected survivalism since that post.

As I've stated before, I recognize three rights, life, liberty, and property. There are three corresponding crimes, being murder, slavery, and theft, and three corresponding dependancies, being defenselessness, obedience, and dependance.

Survivalism has many definitions, and anyone who wants to call themself one can find an excuse to do so. There are those who call themselves survivalists who are back-to-nature types, those who stockpile ammunition and tactical supplies anticipating to kill anyone who has what they want, and any number of other ideas. So I'm going to specify here. Survivalism to me is self-sufficiency in the event of any kind of drastic change. A kind of basic economic independance.

Individualists can't afford to be dependants. Individualists must be independant. Dependancy leads to a kind of half-voluntary subservience, where you put yourself at the mercy of whoever controls what you want.

In this world, everything is interconnected, and in many cases, interdependant. Consider that a very tiny portion of the population supplies a very large portion of the poplutaion with food. Consumers depend on stores depend on distributors depend on manufacturers depend on suppliers depend on producers depend on tractors depend on fuel depends on how angry the middle east is at us. With US foriegn policy what it is, I think you can see the problem here. The producers will look for other sources of fuel if the middle-eastern supply is cut off from us, but a sudden drop in supply without a corresponding drop in demand yields a sudden sharp increase in price. As the price of production increases, the price the product increases. Those poorest neighborhoods where planning for the future is something that is to be done at some point in the future will be hardest hit and least prepared, with the most mouths to feed and the least ability to feed them. As people become desperate, they become either aggressive or they turn to the agency of aggression, the government, who incidentally, they are dependant upon.

I believe that the society most conductive to liberty would have an emphasis on being able to provide for yourself under any forseeable circumstances, although not necessarily to actually provide for yourself, the cost benefits of division of labor would make that uneconomical, just be able to if you have to. The more people are able to defend themselves, think for themselves, and not dependant upon others, the more free I think people will be.

So I believe people should be able to provide themselves with food, water, and shelter, at the very least. I believe people should be able to defend against threats to their rightfully owned means of survival, be able to choose how best to use those means of survival, and not depend on others, especially to the degree we do at present, for these things.

To me at least, it makes sense that the greater the degree of self-sufficiency a community has, the lower the degree of dependancy it has, the greater it's freedom will be, and disproportionately greater in an emergency. And I recognize that the best place to start changing the world is to change myself. So I'm a survivalist in that sense.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Land Ownership

I use these two words to distinguish here.

Person - someone who respects people's ownership of property.
Animal - nonperson.

All rights are property rights. So by extension:

A person has rights.
An animal doesn't.

Rights aren't inherent, there are no "natural rights", they're conditional. If you want your rights to be respected, you must respect others' rights.

If you have a human that doesn't respect people's ownership of property, then they are not a person, they're an animal. Person does not always mean human, nor does human always mean person, as I use the words.

In case it's not obvious yet, I deny the idea of proportional force. If someone threatens you with a pocketknife, you have every right to blow their head off their shoulders by any means necessary, or make a slave of them just as you would if they were an ox plowing your field, for instance. When they do that, they make themself no longer a person, they make themself an animal.

I got an objection recently that this would mean that if you even set foot on my property without my permisson, I could kill you or enslave you.

No. There's a difference here.

You can violate someone's rights without rejecting their rights.
You can reject their rights without violating them.

Suppose I own a patch of land and I don't want people walking across it. But I fail to put out any signage saying "No Tresspassing" or a fence or something to that effect. You have no way of knowing that I don't want you walking on my property. You could think yourself in the right to be on my property unless told otherwise, similar to your assumption that you are in the right as you walk around Walmart.

Now, this is a violation of my property rights, whether you know it or not. What determines whether I can rightfully kill you or not is how you respond to being told to leave.

If you leave, then you have violated my property rights, but you are respecting my right of ownership of that land, and if I attempted to sue you for restitution, I couldn't prove any damage to be repaid for. Unless you did some damage while you were there, this would be the end of it.

But, if you do not leave, I can assume you do not respect the idea of rightful ownership. By logical extension, you deny any exclusive right to your own body, and if you do that, you surrender your "person" status and reduce youreslf to an animal. Then I can do whatever I want rightfully, pertaining to you.

If you want to become a person again, you'll have to start respecting my ownership of the land again. You'll have to leave (or at least say you will and act toward leaving) if you want me to assume you have any right to your life, liberty and property. You may also owe me restitution if you caused any damage.

In other words, just because you violate someone's rights doesn't mean you don't have rights anymore. But if you want to keep your rights, you will have to pay them back any restitution, and respect the rules they set with their own property.

One of the reasons this was brought up was because the idea was brought up of people mining their yards with explosives.

I do have a right to plant mines all over my property. It is after all, my property.

If one of those mines happens to injure you before you deliberately ignore my ownership of the property, then I'm wrong.

You still own yourself as you walk onto someone else's property. They can tell you what to do so as not to violate their rights, but you still have rightful ownership of your own body. You do not make yourself my property as you walk into my yard.

Before I can be made irresponsible for anything that happens to you, you have to disrespect my rightful ownership of the property, you have to deny my rights and act to violate them.

If you have rights as I violate them, then I owe restitution. If you were obeying all the rules of the property, you still own yourself, and it's still wrong for me to blow you up with a landmine.

That's why I can't kill you just for walking on my lawn.

Who I am

I thought I had like five readers of this blog. Appearantly this isn't so. I seem to have readers I've never heard of. This is a pleasant surprise.

So, I figured none of these new people would know much about me. Many of the readers I thought I had have known me for years. So here's a quick explanaton of who I am.

I'm 19, white, male, agnostic-atheist, living in Florida, moving to New Hampshire with the Free State Project, with no more credentials than a high school diploma. I had no formal education in philosophy or logic whatsoever, and my formal economic education was nine weeks in a typical economics class where Keynesianism was taught (Keynesianism is a load of bull). Like most of what I know, I taught myself. I work in the back of a KFC washing dishes and live in a trailer park where I'm leeching wifi on my father's laptop for my internet access. Not proud of it but this is who I am.

I've been kinda libertarian all my life, mostly wanting to be left alone, thinking my conservative parents' ideas about gays and such was completely stupid, and I pretended to be Christian, although I was a deist for most of my life. I call myself an agnostic-atheist because while I reject all religion as a load of BS, I think a deist type of god is possible, even though there's no reason to believe or assume it exists.

I discovered libertarianism as such on December 28th, 2005. About a year ago. I figured "I'm 18 now, maybe I should look into politics to see who to vote for." I came across the World's Smallest Political Quiz. I ended up voting libertarian on everything except drugs, which I was unsure of. When I found the result of being extremely libertarian, I knew where to look for the rest of my politics. The last record I have of me identifying my political beliefs before using "anarchist" was March 6.

Before then, I already understood the stupidity of both political parties, but I called myself a "Republican" because Republicans were a little more individualistic than Democrats. Keep in mind, I knew and cared not what "individualism" and "collectivism" even meant, but I understood the concepts in a kinda fuzzy sense and would have considered myself individualistic.

I've always known that people were stupid. I've spent a lot of time arguing with people over silly things, and once I discovered what I call debating sports, I was addicted. In the year before I found libertarianism, I spent half of my time debating console fanboys. So I'd gotten a taste for arguing with people and was well aware of many of the fallacies I deal with on a regular basis.

Reading through the LP platform (Pre-LRC-bastardization), I saw the policy on secession. It read like "We support the right of individuals and states and communities to secede". I thought about this, and I realized that consistent libertarianism was anarchism. At that point, the other legos fell into place and I became an anarcho-capitalist. I don't know exactly when this was, but it was obviously after March 6, 2006 and before April 27, 2006, which is the first record I have of being called an anarchist.

Many of the things I write here are not so much me explaining what I know, it's a part of my journey through discovering libertarianism, which as I said, has taken place over the past year. It's me putting in words things that I've always known, but never been able to explain. I recall describing what I do on my blog to one friend as "Taking what you already know as a fuzzy concept and putting it in words that make it clear to you." As I come to any realization or clarification, I'll normally post something about it here. In this sense, maybe it's good that I've never taken a formal lesson in any of these things, it lets me start from the perspective of a reader that hasn't either, and I think they're the largest pool of potential libertarians that would be receptive to my message. And that may be why I've gotten any readership other than my known friends.

Because this is the documentation of the process of me discovering libertarianism, some of my more recent work may be in contradiction to some of my earlier posts. Not glaringly so, but partially. I'm not contradicing myself, so much as changing my mind as I realize I was either wrong or was using a word incorrectly, which is something to be expected during the process of discovery, right? I'm hoping that the things I write will help to reinforce anarchocapitalists, draw libertarians to anarchocapitalism, and make libertarians of nonlibertarians.

A few of my major influences are Rothbard and the Austrian School of Economics, Robert LeFevre, Marc Stevens (Author of Adventures in Legal Land), who led me to Lysander Spooner, George Orwell, a little Stefan Molyneux, a little of Ayn Rand, and much of my libertarian entertainment is a product of Free Talk Live. If you read or listen to some of these people, you'll see exactly what parts of each of these I combined to form my perspective.

So this is who I am.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Don't Underestimate Defense

People value things. This is so self-evident a fact it needs no proving.

People have two fundamental economic instincts:

1. Gain things of value
2. Prevent loss of things of value

One of the objections I've gotten pertains to confusion on this issue.

The contention is, people will try to gain things of value by force just because it will work.

I believe, to the contrary, people will avoid using force because they do not want to lose their life for some limited gain. In fact, people tend to have a desire to prevent loss far greater than their desire to gain. This is why many investors are failures, they aren't playing to win, they're playing to not lose. The feeling of security is inextricably intertwined with prevention of loss. And we all know that people seek security. This is actually one of the larger problems libertarians have to deal with.

If I am capable of defending myself with deadly force, this is an extremely convincing arguement against initiating force against me. You may see a great potential gain in doing so, but the potential loss involved, even if you and your friends outnumber me 10:1, will dissuade you from doing so, because there's always a chance I'll kill you. How many times would you play a game of double or nothing?

In the case of government this doesn't apply. The risk of retaliatory force is so low because the government is so widely accepted as legitemate and so powerful that it's literally not resistable. You may take out one or two of them, but they will crush you. Archoexceptionalism creates an exception, enough people believe it to be so that it becomes so.

In all other cases, where someone who is not seen as rightfully able to do as they please, which is anyone that you'd encounter absent a government, can expect to encounter violent resistance to any aggressive action taken.

People will usually ignore the gains when the potential loss is great, even if the probability of loss is small.

You won't have bands of murderers running around under anarchy killing people. The risk is too great. They will either get themselves killed, or as their friends are killed in repeated aggressions, they will realize they will inevitably die if they continue.

This is why I think it's so important that people be at all times able to defend themselves with deadly force, with no reguard to proportionality of force.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Arguement Against Anarchy 4

A common charge against anarchocapitalism is that it's "too extreme". Ignoring the fact that this completely fails to refute anything whatsoever, let's look at the charge anyways.

On any particular issue there are five possible things government can do.

1. Prohibit
2. Regulate
3. Ignore
4. Subsidize
5. Mandate

This is how it works on every issue. They can do more than one of them, but they must be doing at least one.

Some people want the government to prohibit drugs. This is obviously an extreme policy.
Some people want the government to regulate drugs. While not an extreme policy, it is not moderate either.
Some people want the government to ignore drugs. This is the middle-of-the-road policy.
Some people want the government to subsidize drugs. Not extreme, but not moderate.
Some people want the government to mandate drugs. This is obviously an extreme policy.

What's the most moderate policy? Obviously, it's to ignore drugs. This is a moderate's policy.

Some people want the government to prohibit people from protecting themselves.
Some people want the government to regulate self-defense.
Some people want the government to ignore it.
Some people want the government to subsidize it.
Some people want the government to mandate it through police.

What's the most moderate policy here?

If you're going to be a consistent moderate, you have to take the position that the government should ignore every issue. In other words, become an anarchocapitalist. Ironic? Yes. If you are going to be completely consistent and never violate the principle of being moderate, anyways. Then you'd have to become an extremist in the pursuit of moderation.

This is when many people come to the realization that it is necessary to harness the power of doublethink to make the point that you need to be moderate in the pursuit of moderation. Of course, the only way to do that is to become more extreme.

Either moderation contradicts itself, or does not contradict anarcho-capitalism.

Have fun trying to work your way out of the trap you set for yourself.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"National" "Security"

Thanks to Jason Orr on the Free Talk Live forums for this idea.

One of the biggest objections to an anarcho-capitalist society is "What if you get invaded by another country?"

Usually the assumption that the region in question is the United States and the point being made that it's thousands of miles of ocean both ways with friendly neighbors, the issue can be avoided. I prefer to do this because it takes a lot less effort.

One brilliant possibility I heard of seems like it would apply very easily.

If we assume first that a libertarian society exists and has for a number of years, every major company would want to move there to avoid taxes. Let's assume, for example, New Hampshire becomes an anarcho-capitalist society. And suppose the US wants to invade.

What would the companies do to defend themselves? I can see the broadcast right now.

"Hello, my name is Z. Hwasi, the CEO of Hwasi-Miess Defense and Courts, and I understand your country may be planning an invasion of the New Hampshire region. This causes us great concern. Should your country go through with this, you should know that a bounty will be out for you. Every Congressman and Senator who votes to support such a measure, every General who leads your army, your President, and anyone else responsible for the decision to invade, will have a bounty out on their head to be paid five hundred thousand ounces of silver at the lowest, and such person who can prove that they killed you will be given safe haven in New Hampshire, free platinum-level protection for ten years, and the bounty money. We expect most of the rewards will be paid to your closest advisors, assistants, and other employees. We trust you will put great consideration into your decision."

Who would dare invade? By doing so they invite their employees, and even each other, to betray them.

Why Libertarian Debate is Hard

The typical political debate for me goes like this.

I say we don't need the government. That it's immoral. That it's impractical. That it's ineffective. That it's wasteful. That it's destructive. That it requires a thousand logical contradictions to make sense.

From that point on, it is my job to defend anarchy from every concievable hypothetical failure imaginable, including some which don't apply, some which couldn't apply, some which only apply to statism, some which are absolutely stupid, some which contradict themselves, and then the same ones over again just for good measure.

It's always the same thing. I'm thinking I need to reconsider my methods.

When I am on the defensive, I cannot gain ground. When I go to the offensive, people ignore me until I am back on the defensive. This is not going to work.

On one forum I've been visiting I am defending anarchy in 8 different threads. I am on the offensive in one thread, which I created, had to bump 4 times to even get a single response, and then the only response was "This thread should be locked."

I brought up every arguement in support of anarcho-capitalism I could think of, and rebutted all the objections I could think of. And what's the response? I'm ignored, save someone wanting to permanantly ensure that I could only be ignored.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

It seems the statists automatically assume that they have a moral and pragmatic high ground. They can't afford to fight on a level playing field. I might be just playing their stupid little game by acting as if I'm on the low ground. Next new place I'm going, I'm going to try ignoring their claims that it will eventually fall back into government, in favor of attacking the very concept of a government in the first place as being wrong.

When people are open-minded to liberty, explaining to to them is easy. They eat it up and ask for more.

When people are not, they won't tolerate you explaining it to them. Your job as the anarchist is not to attack government, but to give them a strawman to beat up so they can feel good about themselves. Fighting back is not playing by their stupid rules.

All I ask for in debate is an open mind and a level playing field. Why is it so hard to find them?

The government and the popular media has people equating anarchism with chaos. The government has turned 99.9% of the population into dependants who could not imagine themselves surviving without government. Anyone who attacks the government provision of anything is fighting an uphill battle.

But I like challenges. I like being forced to think. So I'm going to keep fighting uphill battles until I'm dead or I'm at the top of the hill.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Tax Strategy: Tar 'n' Feathers

I got a W-2 today. My Income Tax Strategy in 4 words or less: KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Something I would love to see happen -- to the point that I would do it myself just to ensure that it gets done -- would be the classic "Revolutionary" tax collector treatment.

That means tar, feathers, and a nice big "Tax Collector" sign, paraded through downtown Concord in the back of a pickup.

Everybody hates the IRS. If McVeigh had bombed an IRS office, he'd be a nationwide folk hero. I'm not planning on bombs, however. That would get me labelled as a terrorist. Not pretty. I just want to show the government, "It's been 230 years, and we still hate taxes." It's not like I want to hurt anyone (save some massive embarassment for the IRS agent). I just want the world to know how I feel. And I know a lot of other people feel the same way. They just don't act on it.

A thought not put into action is a thought never thought at all. A thought shared by millions is never thought if not acted upon. It only takes one person to act. The rest will then respond, and their response will show their thoughts. And the response to the responses of others will reinforce those thoughts.

The ground is exceptionally fertile for the seed to be planted right after a tax increase.

What would the response be? Among politicians, with no doubt, the response would be outrage. Among voters, the response would be laughter. From a jury? They might just aquit. With enough Freestaters spending the weeks prior to and during the trial giving all potential jurors a FIJA flyer, the chances really aren't too bad at all.

What a better place to tar and feather an IRS agent than the lowest taxed State in the Union.

Random Libertarian Debate Points

These are a few things I've found in my adventures debating with nonlibertarians. Some are taken out of context, but putting them back in context should be simple enough to make it easy for new libertarian debaters to learn to apply. I'll update it as I hear other clever ways of phrasing things.

"A patrol or two a day in a neighborhood and a response time of 15 minutes or more is somehow sufficient to stop mass killings. Let's entertain this stupid idea for a moment..."

"At the very least, petty warlords do not have the time or patience to enforce stupid laws and economic regulations."

"Okay, the government protects you from criminals. This just delays the problem. Who protects you from the government? Under anarchocapitalism, you'd just call in another [Private Defense Agency] if yours is being abusive. Under government, you don't get that redundancy."

"It's a lot harder to get people to pay taxes when they think you're just a petty theif."

"The government does not invent, create, or produce, the market does. The government spends all it's time trying to regulate, impede, or otherwise loot the market."

"Some people would rather have higher pay than a safer workplace; you are not involved in that decision so you are not to make that decision for anyone else."

"The market is shortsighted? Who is more shortsighted? Bill Gates or Bill Clinton?"

"Government is a hopelessly utopian idea. To work, it requires intelligent voters, selfless politicians, and omniscient bureaucrats. None of these three have yet manifested in reality. But that's okay. Maybe it'll work someday when we finally get that perfect world where we don't need it anymore."

"What do you mean Libertarianism requires faith in humaity? Bullshit. I have no faith in humanity. That's why I have no faith in cops, bureaucrats, and politicians. Government requires faith in humanity."

"People who say government is a 'necessary evil' tend to emphasize the 'necessary' and ignore the 'evil', leading me to believe they're just regurgitating rhetoric."

"How oh how did humanity ever evolve without economic regulations?"

"If people need leaders because they are idiots, then democracy is a stupid idea, because idiots will just elect other idiots."

"I've yet to understand how calling oneself a 'government' gives you such amazing powers."

"You think under libertarianism the government would be owned by corporate interests? I thought that's what we had right now anyways."

"Wages are prices. If you want high wages, you want high prices. Next time you raise wages don't bitch that prices are going up."

"...which begs the question, why does it still happen today if the government has solved these problems for us?"

"If you can't afford a $300 AK-47, you have better things to be doing than organizing labor unions."

"I said people should be held responsible for their own actions, not that they would take responsibility for them."

"A pissed off hunter with a .308 isn't going to play nice or fair when his life, liberty, and property are in jeopardy."

"It's not necessarily true that all people will do anything to achieve their goals. As for those that do, why don't they just take political power- oh wait."

"I want to hit people when they start telling me how great democracy is as if it is the very emobidment of freedom itself."

"If the government were consistent it would break itself apart for violating monopoly laws."

"And this system of mutual tolerance is what we call 'Libertarianism'."

"If the goal [of checks and balances] is to stop asshole A from overriding asshole B, the obvious solution is to get rid of both of them and scrap the whole government so neither asshole has anything to take control of in the first place."

"This 'voting with dollars' thing they give you in economics is an attempt to make you equate democracy with freedom. You don't actually vote with dollars."

"Government is people, it's wrong for people to hurt each other, therefore it's wrong for government to hurt people. How people don't get it is beyond me."

"Under government violence is far more widespread. It's just disguised as 'Law enforcement'."

"'We' are not the government."

"The Labor Theory of Value is a questionable economic theory which is for some reason often interpreted as a law of morality."

"The unethical nature of the method of funding [taxes] necessarily precludes the question of the unethical nature of not paying."

"If the government wanted me to pay, they wouldn't give things away for free. On the market, people put a price on things before allowing them to be used. The government can do this too. Oh wait, no it can't. If it could, people would be able to choose not to interact with the government."